Subway Shorts – July 30, 2016

Another day, another chance to read some comics on the train ride home. Last night’s reading included three new number 1s from DC Comics as the company continues its “Rebirth.”

Nightwing 1 

Written by Tim Seely

Art by Javier Fernandez 

 Books like these make me feel like there’s no coordination within the DC Comics offices. Yesterday,  discussed the new Red Hood book, where he goes undercover to get a better feel for what the bad guys are doing. And today, I look at the new Nightwing series, where Dick Grayson … goes undercover… to get a better feel for what the bad guys are doing. Is there a Tim Drake book coming up, too? Let me guess, he goes undercover to see what the bad guys are doing.
While Jason Todd will become a part of his own “Dark Trinity” in his book to take down general threats, Nightwing has a more specific target in mind: The Court of Owls, the secret society that has served as a counterpoint to Batman since the start of the New 52. The Court considers “The Gray Son” to be the organization’s chosen one, as long as he can shake off the teachings of Batman. Bruce isn’t too happy about what Grayson is dong, but s far more supportive about it than he was for Jason. We also get a brief interlude with Grayson meeting up with Barbara Gordon before he goes off to Russia and she goes off to the Far East – more on that later.
Overall, Nightwing 1 was a better start than the Red Hood book, but if DC Comics is going to put two books with similar concepts, maybe they shouldn’t release the two books the same week. Just a thought.

Batgirl 1 

Written by Hope Larson 

Art by Rafael Albuquerque 

I’m going to guess that the Nightwing issue above takes place before this issue, since Barbara Gordon has already left Gotham by the time this story kicks off.

The last volume of Batgirl became an agent of change for DC Comics, as the company used the book’s success as a reason to release a series of books that had a much lighter tone than the rest of the line. That creative team has moved on, and it’s possible Batgirl has moved on, but at least the new costume is still in place.

As we open the issue, Barbara Gordon has left Burnside, the Gotham equivalent of Williamsburg, I assume, for a trip across Asia, with a first stop in Japan. She’s hoping to find a 104-year-old woman who served as a costumed hero named Fruit Bat in her youth. She also finds an old friend from her time in Chicago, who just happens to be her youth hostel roommate. Of course, there’s more to him than meets the eye, as he’s attacked by a costumed villain dressed up like Sailor Moon. Babs is forced to suit up to make the save, but she gets an assist in taking down the villain from Fruit Bat.

I didn’t read the previous Batgirl series, but the Rebirth book – so far – is a fun read. Obviously, Batgirl can’t stay in Asia for too long, as she’s already “returned from her trip” in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey (the first issue of that has already come out – at least they acknowledged Babs’ trip in that book). Hopefully, the “Beyond Burnside” story keeps up the fun the previous series was supposed to have.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 1 

Written by Robert Venditti

Pencils by Rafa Sandoval

Inks by Jordi Tarragona 

In the 12 years since Hal Jordan returned from the dead in Green Lantern: Rebirth back in 2004, I’m having trouble counting how many changes to the status quo the character and the concept has gone through. From one Green Lantern to 7,200 back down to a few dozen, it seems DC Comics can’t help but mess with the Corps.

Hal Jordan has been a “renegade” for the last year or so, taking the blame for the disappearance of the Corps and wearing a gauntlet, trench coat and long hair that even his hippie pal Oliver Queen would have made fun of (not that Queen and Jordan seem to have any sort of friendship in the New 52…). But he’s over that phase now. He cut his hair like a good Air Force pilot and put a ring and his costume back on. Oh, and the remaining members of the Corps – including Guy Gardner and John Stewart – are back from wherever it was they were. And the Sinestro Corps is in control of the Universe, living on War World in the center of the universe, where Oa used to be. And Sinestro was old but used Parallax to become fit again.

You know what? If you haven’t been following all the Green Lantern books pre-Rebirth, don’t bother. The new heyday of the Corps has ended, unfortunately.